Colorful creamy pasta salad with tender ditalini pasta and flavorful mayo dressing. Salty with crunchy vegetables this salad is sure to be a hit on any potluck.
❤️ Why You'll Want to Make It
- A classic dish to make ahead and take to your next potluck or gathering.
- Loaded with fresh veggies and creamy delicious dressing.
- Very filling with many variations.
- It's a quick and easy recipe.
A Mediterranean twist to the classic mayo pasta salad, it is easy and colorful and goes well with any grilled meat or as a meal by itself . Make this for dinner tonight and enjoy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Note: This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
- Macaroni noodles, here I've used ditalini pasta but you can use any small pasta.
- Capers and pitted Kalamata olives for a salty Mediterranean touch.
- Tomatoes and baby arugula were my choice for fresh vegetables here. Cucumber, celery, carrots, red onion, green onion, broccoli, peas,.. really any vegetables would work.
- Parmesan cheese perfect for this macaroni salad recipe.
- A simple mayonnaise dressing.
- Hard boiled eggs for some protein.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente, rinse with cold water. Add a drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
- Boil eggs, peel, dice and set aside.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, and dice cucumber if using.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- In a big bowl combine pasta and all vegetables, parmesan cheese olives and capers.
- Pour dressing over and toss to combine.
- Lightly mix in the diced boiled eggs.
👍 Amira's Tips
Let the pasta cool completely before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. If you add it hot the vegetables will lose its crispness, the cheese will melt and form lumps and the pasta will soak the dressing and turn into a mush.
- Do not overcook the pasta, cooking al dente is the best.
- Make sure to rinse the pasta with cold water.
- Also make sure that the pasta has cooled completely before mixing it with the dressing.
- As mentioned before this salad can be the vehicle to so many vegetables, fresh or steamed.
- Add in some cooked and crumbled bacon, turkey or beef bacon is what we use.
- Discard eggs and add some leftover cooked chicken.
- Cooked shrimp is great for this recipe.
- Add some diced bell peppers.
- Add some pickles, like dill pickles, green olives .. etc
Refrigerate leftover ditalini pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
📣 Related Recipes
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is easy to make tossed in a delicious homemade dressing, you'll love this recipe!
- Loaded with fresh herbs and vegetables this Mediterranean chickpea salad is dressed in a delicious lemon vinaigrette for a hearty lunch or side dish.
- Black bean and chickpea salad is a delicious and nutritious dish that is perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish to a main meal. You are going to love how easy and packable this salad is, works great for picnics and lunch boxes.
- Here is a refreshing Mediterranean watermelon salad with arugula, feta and mint. This salad stands out at potlucks and disappears fast
- Crispy buffalo cauliflower is a delicious twist to the classic buffalo wings for an easy party snack. Lightly battered cauliflower is baked then tossed with spicy sauce, delicious crispy with bold flavors.
More Pasta Recipes
- This one is one of my favorite light lunches! Smoked salmon pasta is full of fresh flavors in creamy pasta.
- SO easy! Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta are made in one pot! I like to make it with chicken but you can add shrimp or make it meatless.
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Ditalini Pasta Salad
- 12 oz cooked pasta
- 1 cup arugula.
- ¾ cup Kalamata olives Diced or whole.
- 2 -3 Tablespoons capers
- 1 cup grape tomato cut in half.
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 3 eggs Hard boiled
For the dressing
- ½ Cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Canola oil
- 2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup you can use honey or corn syrup
- 4 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- In a large bowl, combine all the pasta ingredients.
- Combine dressing ingredients in another bowl, mix until well with a whisk to combine.
- Pour dressing over the top. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
- Using capers is optional but highly recommended.
- You can use leftover chicken or canned tuna as well.
- For more tips, variations and how to store check the post above.
- Please check the nutrition disclaimer policy.
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👩🏫 My Personal Experience
Pasta salad was not that popular when I was growing up in Egypt, now it is actually on every restaurant's menu. To my surprise I was never a fan of mayonnaise, and still am not that kind of girl who spreads mayo on every sandwich as I prefer tahini and baba Ganoush more, but I do really enjoy this recipe.
We were in that Italian restaurant lately and I had a very delicious pasta salad but after a couple of bites, I tasted something in there ..... VODKA it was!!! I really hate these kinds of situations, when you start enjoying something just to discover it has alcohol or pork, things that we are not allowed to consume.. how frustrating is that.
I remember one day we were in another Italian restaurant and I specifically asked the waitress to point out dishes that does not have alcohol or pork, so I picked up a dish, but this time with my first bite I could smell it.. there is something strange, and when I asked the waitress, she went back to ask the chef and she said it is only marinated in wine and it evaporates while cooking!!! I really wanted to #$@&%*!, ok I'll stop here🙊.
So, probably I will not go to an Italian restaurant again, at least until I visit Egypt, and this is a hard decision for me as we all do enjoy Italian food a lot. So I put on the chef's hat and tried to get as close as possible to the dressing I enjoyed, it is not exactly the same dressing but it is as flavorful and wonderful.
I used to make this salad to my oldest back in Egypt when he was one or two years old and he loved it ever since. I made it this time with the help of this creamy dressing and it was delicious. Back then, I did not use arugula and used other fresh veggies, but I had a box of baby arugula in my fridge and it was screaming me me me so I had no choice.
I also did not slice the olives as my kids love chewing on whole olives to get all the flavors in their mouths. Feel free to use canned tuna/chicken, leftover rotisserie chicken, cooked shrimps..... or go with the hard boiled eggs like I did.